- Hospitals and physician practices frustrated by the CMS’ lack of guidance on how to prepare for removal of Social Security numbers on Medicare identification cards, Modern Healthcare reports.
- New cards with new ID numbers — called Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers, or MBI — will be issued starting in April 2018 and no cards with old numbers will be accepted as of 2020.
- The change, required by MACRA, is aimed at curbing identify theft and fraud.
Physicians are aware of the change but unsure how to prepare, and CMS has offered no real guidance to date. If physicians aren't ready for the new cards, it could cause problems with billing Medicare and delays in providers getting paid. Providers also need to ready their EHR systems to recognize the new numbers.
In a letter last August to then-CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, the American Medical Association and five other healthcare groups called for greater transparency and public input on implementation of the Social Security number removal initiative.
Nearly a year later, that hasn't happened. The CMS did post a bulletin on its website this month outlining steps practices should take to get ready for the change. It simply suggests providers check the CMS website for updates, participate in quarterly calls and test their billing systems to ensure they can handle the MBIs.